The Hail Mary (NFL DFS): Week 5 FIRST LOOK October 7, 2015  |  Doug Shain


Check out our NFL DFS Cheat Sheet!


The Huddle – Opening Statement

We are a quarter of the way through the NFL season and that’s as good a time as any to take a moment to break out a tool I use in the classroom with my 4th graders, a KWL chart. For those of you who aren’t teachers like me (so, most of you) a KWL chart stands for What I KNOW, What I WANT TO KNOW, What I LEARNED. I’m going to fill in this chart as a Quarter Year NFL DFS review. I will keep this KWL limited to actual NFL DFS, not insider trading or how people don’t understand the concept of an advertisement. You can go check out my Twitter history (@bankster17) to get my thoughts on the hot DFS debates of the week.

Targets = $$ (I’m looking at you DeAndre, Maclin, and Julio…thanks). Are Keenan Allen and Donte Moncrieff for real? Is Calvin Johnson done? Is Tavon Austin a real NFL WR now? Leonard Hankerson is clearly the #2 WR on ATL right now and is a great value play while you can get him.
You can’t really go wrong with a big name QB that still plays like a big name QB (Brady, Rodgers, Ryan, Cam). Will the Titans ever let Mariota run?   How bad is Matthew Stafford?   When will Cleveland wise up and let Johnny Football run the show? Tyrod Taylor isn’t going anywhere.   Top 12 QB play going forward.
Gronk is worth every fantasy dollar you spend on him. Can Antonio Gates, Delanie Walker, and Charles Clay ascend into the top tier of TE? Play your TE against the Raiders.
Kickers are stupid and if you try to figure out which one will have a good game you’ve wasted your time. Will the Texans and Bills defenses become what we hoped they would be before the season started? Denver is the best defense in the NFL for fantasy purposes.
Being part of the 2% ownership of a guy who blows up is a good thing. Is Arian Foster ready? How about Gurley? Will DEN/DAL/SD please pick a guy and give him some carries? You can win a GPP with a guy who is 50% owned (if you surround him with the right lineup).


To take a look at a list of “musts” when building my GPP lineup, click here. Best of luck this week!


The Depth Chart – The Plays of the Week

I’m going to list 3 groups of players for each position (except K). These groups are going to be PUBLIC plays, EXPERT plays, and HuLo plays. For an explanation of what those plays mean, click here. They are not ranked in any order. I’ll give a little analysis after each position section, but I won’t necessarily give a narrative about each player.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Aaron Rodgers – GB Philip Rivers – SD Tyrod Taylor – BUF
Tom Brady – NE Michael Vick – PIT Marcus Mariota – TEN
Matt Ryan – ATL Jay Cutler – CHI Alex Smith – KC
Peyton Manning – DEN Joe Flacco – BAL
Drew Brees – NO Russell Wilson – SEA


– I don’t really hate any of the Public QB plays this week, though I do think Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are playing at a different level right now. If I’m paying up at QB, those are the guys I want. There’s nothing wrong with Brees, Ryan, or Manning, but if I’m going to pivot off the top two guys there are a few other plays that I think make some more sense.

– Those plays are Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler (if healthy). Both have amazing matchups and are underpriced (especially Rivers). As of right now Rivers is at worst my #2 QB (behind Brady) but could move up by the time I write my WEEKEND UPDATE. A lot of people are going to try out Vick against a weak SD defense that just gave up 350+ yards to Josh McCown, but I think that’s a mistake. Vick just isn’t that good.

– I think after his down performance against the Giants this past week we are going to see a slight ownership dip for Tyrod Taylor. If people watched the game they would have seen that he actually played pretty well, but had some plays called back by penalty (including a 30 yard TD to Clay that really stung when it got reversed). If the Titans ever let Mariota run they’d actually get to see the player they drafted. He’ll be very good once that happens and it would help his fantasy value a lot. This first game after the bye could be the week the coaching staff unleashes him. Of the rest of the HuLo plays, I like Alex Smith the most in a good matchup against a weak Bears D.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Jamaal Charles – KC Justin Forsett – BAL Matt Forte – CHI
Le’Veon Bell – PIT Arian Foster – HOU Mark Ingram – NO
Devonta Freeman – ATL Boobie Dixon – BUF Jeremy Hill – CIN
Todd Gurley – STL Danny Woodhead – SD Doug Martin – TB
C.J. Spiller – NO Ronnie Hillman – DEN TJ Yeldon – JAX
Dion Lewis – NE


– After back to back 3 TD weeks, yet still being priced like a low end #2, Devonta Freeman is a very public play. I will continue to mostly fade him with an expected jump in his ownership levels. Charles and Bell continue to give you a solid base to your lineup even when they don’t get 120 yards rushing. Their ability to catch passes out of the backfield, and a nose for the end zone, give them a very high floor. Todd Gurley is the shiny new toy that’s ready to blow up (in a good way). I love his price and I love his sneaky good matchup.

– C.J. Spiller is a complete fantasy fraud. If it wasn’t for that last play he wouldn’t even be worth talking about, yet here he is with a section all to himself. People so badly want for Spiller to be good that they are going to hang their hat on that one catch and run and put him in their lineups. Even if he’s 4% owned that’s 4% too much.

– Forsett has a great matchup against an awful Browns’ defense. I wish he didn’t have such a good game last week because now I think his ownership is going to be pretty high. Speaking of high ownership, Boobie Dixon might be the most highly owned player this week if Karlos Williams doesn’t pass the concussion protocol. The Bills face a weak Titans D and Boobie is cheap. Just know that you’re getting a guy that started the year 3rd on the depth chart. I don’t normally play Thursday guys but Arian Foster is definitely in play. He’s up against a weak run D and should be fresh after only getting a handful of snaps once last week’s game became a blowout. Plus, this was the game the Texans were preparing him for all along. Danny Woodhead in a full PPR might really pay off against the Steelers.

– My favorite HuLo plays this week are Matt Forte (still think people are avoiding him) and Dion Lewis (really high floor relative to price). Jeremy Hill is TD dependent and plays the Seahawks, but if he gets in the end zone you should be one of the only people to have him on your roster. Yeldon and Martin are facing each other’s weak defenses and both had great games last week. If momentum means anything then these are two sneaky plays that can give you some cap relief.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Julio Jones – ATL DeAndre Hopkins – HOU Jeremy Maclin – KC
Odell Beckham – NYG Keenan Allen – SD Julian Edelman – NE
Antonio Brown – PIT Pierre Garcon – WSH Mike Evans – TB
Demaryius Thomas – DEN Allen Hurns – JAX Amari Cooper – OAK
A.J. Green – CIN Leonard Hankerson – ATL Donte Moncrief – IND
Calvin Johnson – DET Tavon Austin – STL Willie Snead – NO
Dontrelle Inman – SD


I don’t care that all of the Public plays bombed last week, almost all of them are on my radar again this week. The only one I’m actively avoiding is Calvin Johnson. I think he might be toast.

– I’ll be all over the Expert plays this week. I’ve been writing and Tweeting about it a lot lately, but targets = dollars and these guys get a ton of them. Hopkins should be a machine on Thursday with almost all of the Texans WRs injured; the same thing for Allen in SD. If Garcon plays this week (he’s Q right now) he’s a good guy to get since he’s cheap and Cousins has finally figured out how to use him correctly. It would appear that it’s Allen Hurns, not Allen Robinson, who is the favorite target of Blake Bortles. It would also appear I was wrong last week on Hankerson and that he is a viable fantasy play. He’ll be in a LOT of my lineups this week with his price still down in WR4 territory.

– If you want to go super HuLo this week then fade Keenan Allen and pair Rivers with Dontrelle Inman. I know Gates is coming back but Rivers needs a deep threat with Malcolm Floyd injured. If Inman starts opposite Allen this week I can see him getting long for a few shots. He won’t go 8-120 or anything but if he goes 3-70-1 you’re going to be really happy. Another long shot I like is Willie Snead. The Saints seem to like the kid and he’s been what we hoped Brandon Coleman would be.

– Two of my favorite plays this week are Maclin and Edelman. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this or not, but targets = $$$. Both should see 10+ targets. If they get into the end zone they go from good play to GPP winning play.


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Rob Gronkowski – NE Charles Clay – BUF Antonio Gates – SD
Jimmy Graham – SEA Gary Barnidge – CLE Delanie Walker – TEN
Martellus Bennett – CHI Owen Daniels – DEN Richard Rodgers – GB


– Gronk gonna Gronk.

– Charles Clay is quickly becoming one of the more reliable fantasy TE. Tyrod loves him and Clay is a lot more dynamic than I thought. I knew he was a good red zone target, but he has some speed and can get open down the seam and make big plays. He’s still priced a few steps below the Graham/Kelce duo, which means he’s a good value for you.

– Owen Daniels faces the Raiders. Always start your TE against the Raiders (though there is a little fear that Manning will move Sanders around the formation so he’s the one that gets the mismatch).

– I’m not sure people are aware that Antonio Gates is coming back this week. Ladarius Green has played really well, but I just know that Rivers is going to want to get his security blanket back into the flow of things right away. 5-60-1 sound good to you?


Public Plays Expert Plays HuLo Plays
Seattle Seahawks Houston Texans Kansas City Chiefs
Arizona Cardinals Buffalo Bills Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots Atlanta Falcons Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos


– Denver is the best defense in football and are about as safe as it gets. They’re still not priced too badly so you can roll them out with little worry.

– Atlanta has played awesome at home this year and they get a mistake-prone Redskins this week. They are among my top plays for the week.

– A real sneaky defense this week could be the Jags (better on D than you realize) against Jameis Winston. Winston could have a big game, but still throw 3 INTs. The Jags should be able to get to him in the pocket as well. As one of the cheapest defenses on the board they are the ultimate HuLo play for this position.

Don’t forget to come back on Saturday for the Weekend Update edition of The Hail Mary where I push the 3000 word threshold.

Check out the Fake Football Cheat Sheets for my sample lineups. I do the Fantasy Aces section, but the process of selecting the lineups is the same on all the sites.

Follow me on Twitter @bankster17 and good luck with your Hail Mary!

One Response

  1. Dani says:

    What do you think about Blount at FLEX for DK?

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